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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Sexual Assault/Rape

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Sexual assault is any sexual act performed against a person's will and without her or his consent. It can be physical, verbal, or psychological.


Rape is unwanted penetration of a body part or an object in the body opening against a person's will.

Sexual assault is not a sexual act of passion. It is a criminal act of violence. It is perpetrated primarily by men against women, but it can happen to anyone regardless of gender, age, race, strength, sexual orientation, size, religion, and disability. It can happen between married couples, dating couples, friends, family, acquaintances, or strangers.
As many as 90% of survivors know their assailant. (1)


Examples of sexual assault may include unwanted:
  • Exposure of a person's genitals
  • Kissing
  • Masturbation
  • Obscene phone calls
  • Oral sex
  • Penetration of a body part or an object in a body opening
  • Sexual exploitation of clients by professionals
  • Sexual harassment (verbal or behavioral)
  • Threats of sexual violence
  • Touching
  • Voyeurism (peeping, following, stalking)


(1) Fisher, F.S., Cullen, F. T., & Turner, M. G. (2000). The sexual victimization of college women.(NCJRS Publication No. 182360) Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Criminal Justice Reference Service.